called Baruch to
help him. Jeremiah spoke the words God had given, and Baruch wrote
them on the scroll. The two men worked for a long time. Finally
the scroll was finished.
"You know I am not allowed in the temple any more, so I
cannot read this book to the people there. You take it and read it
in the temple on a special day when there will be many people to
hear. You tell them that these are the words of the Lord. When
they hear this, maybe they will repent of their sins."
One of the priest's sons was so impressed with the book that he
hurried to the palace to tell the princes. He told all he could
remember what Baruch had said. The princes were so excited that
they sent for Baruch to come and read the book for them.
princes listened to every word. How frightened they became when
they heard that their country would be captured because the people
had forsaken God! They believed God's message. "We must tell
the king all these words," they decided.
The princes were
not sure the king would obey Jeremiah's words. He might even be
angry at Jeremiah and Baruch. In times past the king had been very
harsh with Jeremiah for speaking out against the sins of the
Jeremiah and hide," the princes told Baruch. "Let no one
know where you are. Then we will tell the king about God's message
in this book."
brought the book to King Jehoiakim as he sat before his blazing
fireplace. Jehoiakim commanded that the book be read aloud. As
soon as three or four columns had been read, the king took his
knife, cut them off the scroll, and threw them into the fire.
Except for the
princes, those who watched did not seem the least bit afraid. They
did not take the words of the Lord seriously. "Don't burn the
roll," the princes begged, but their pleading did no good.
Finally, the entire book had been burned.
learned what had happened, he told Baruch, "Take another roll
and write in it all the words that were in the book Jehoiakim
The second book
was longer than the first because Jeremiah wrote about Jehoiakim's
punishment. And the words that Jeremiah wrote were true. Not long
afterwards the great king of the Chaldeans came and took many
people of Judah away to be slaves in Babylon. King Jehoiakim was
put in prison for many years.
Even with the
changes in kings, Jeremiah's troubles did not end. While Zedekiah
was king, the Chaldeans returned to besiege Jerusalem again.
Jeremiah went among his people warning them that the Chaldeans
would win. The princes became so angry with Jeremiah that they had
him thrown into a dungeon.
Enemy armies came
nearer and nearer Jerusalem. The city was in great danger. The
king was afraid. Secretly he sent for Jeremiah. When Jeremiah
came, the king asked, "Tell me, is there any word from the
words pleased the king, the prophet would be free again. Jeremiah
knew he must tell God's message faithfully even if he did have to
stay in a dark dungeon.
Bravely he said,
"You and your armies will be captured by the king of
Babylon." Then Jeremiah wanted to know, "What have I
done against you or your servants that you have put me in prison?
Where are your own prophets who told you the king of Babylon would
never war against us? Please do not send me back to the dungeon,
or I shall die there."
The king listened
carefully. This time he sent Jeremiah to the home of a prison
guard. There the prophet would have better treatment.
With this little
bit of freedom, Jeremiah again began to warn the people of the
terrible things that were going to happen to them. The people
became so angry that they threw Jeremiah into an old well that had
deep mud in the bottom.
have died, but Ebedmelech went to the king and pleaded for the
prophet. He said, "O King, these men have done wrong by
throwing Jeremiah into that pit. He will die there without food or
The king ordered,
"Take thirty men and get Jeremiah out."
old clothes and rags and tied them together to make ropes. These
they let down into the pit for Jeremiah to fasten under his
armpits. Then they pulled him out.
And Jeremiah told
the king, "The army will capture the city, break down its
walls, and even destroy the beautiful temple of the Lord. But God
will not let the Chaldean king, Nebuchadnezzar, kill the people of
Jerusalem if they will offer to become his servants. Then they
will not need to starve to death inside the city."
Now Jeremiah was
kept in the court of the prison and treated more kindly, But he
was not allowed to go through the city or talk to the people.